Check to See if You're Fully ready for Divorce
How do you know when you've had enough? When thinking about getting a divorce, this is a question that many women ask themselves. It's a big decision to give up on a marriage, so this is an important question.
Here is what I suggest. Make sure you have tried everything to save your marriage, unless your partner is emotionally, verbally, or physically abusive. If that's the case, hire a good therapist and leave as soon as you can.
Once you know you've done that and your marriage hasn't gotten better, you probably do need to stop. If you do this, you will know that you did everything you could to keep your marriage together.
But divorce is sometimes the best choice. So, what's the first step?
Finances are the first step.
The first thing you need to do is realize that while marriage is about love, divorce is all about money. I know that sounds harsh, but it is the truth. This is one of the most important choices you will ever make about money.
So, look through your house and gather all of the financial information you can find. Do this before you tell your partner that you want to get a divorce. If you don't know where this information is kept, find out and start reading it. This includes bank statements, statements from retirement accounts, tax returns, and proof of debt, like credit card and mortgage bills.
If you don't take this kind of financial inventory before you file for divorce, your spouse might make it hard for you to get this information. If he tries to hide the ball, your divorce will probably take longer and cost more.
The second thing to do is get rid of things that are really important to you but don't have much "value," like pictures of your side of the family and old family heirlooms. Keep them with a friend you can count on. So, your soon-to-be-ex-husband won't be able to threaten you with those things when you're negotiating a divorce settlement.
Get a private email account. This is the third step. During your divorce, you will need to talk to other people privately, so make sure that only you know the password to that account. If you and your spouse share a computer, you should know that there may be a keystroke program on the computer that is set up to listen to what you say. You may want to have your computer checked, or you may just want to send all confidential emails from a different computer. Also, you should know that phone records and texts can be used to find you. These days, it's hard to keep your privacy. And of course, make sure your use of social media sites doesn't give away any information!
Child custody is the first step.
If you have kids, your first job is to find out how your state handles child custody. There is a lot of information online, but be careful, because the laws about child custody in each state are a little different.
Next, you should learn about how divorce affects children. Find some good books and carefully read them. Before you decide how to handle your divorce, you should think about how it will affect your kids.
Don't tell your kids about the upcoming divorce. And don't say bad things about your partner to them. If you end up in a custody battle, the judge will not like it if you put your kids in the middle of the fight. Remember that you're getting a divorce from your spouse, not from your kids.
Team up for your divorce
When you get a divorce, you need a group of people to help you through it. Your team will hold you accountable to your Divorce Vision (we'll talk about that in a moment) and help you make good decisions.
Your team's job is to give you emotional and practical support during this big change in your life. And that's really what divorce is: a change in your life.
People who will take sides probably shouldn't be on your team. You don't need or want that. You need a team that will support where you are going, not where you've been.
It could be your best friend, a therapist, a pastor or other member of the clergy, or a co-worker who knows both your professional and personal goals. Whoever you choose, they should be people you trust or who have a responsibility to keep what you tell them secret. But be careful: in the legal process, anyone can be called to testify, so be careful about what you share and what you email.
Plan out your divorce.
This is a really important first step in getting a divorce. Here's why: what we imagine for our lives sets the tone and pace and makes our reality. And when you feel overwhelmed by your divorce, you can read your Divorce Vision again. It will help you remember that you have a choice about who you want to be during this process.
Don't let the process of getting a divorce shape the rest of your life. You're in charge of that part. You decide how you're going to act, what people will remember about you, and what your life will be like when this is over.
Remember that getting divorced is not the end of the world. Your marriage has come to an end. It's a big change for you. After your divorce is over, you will have a bright future. You might as well choose what your life will be like after the divorce.
After you've taken the steps above, it's time to make an appointment for an initial consultation with an attorney or decide to file for divorce yourself. If you decide to hire a lawyer, talk to a few of them to see if you can find one you get along with. Remember that you'll be going through a pretty big change in your life with this person, so choose someone you like and trust.